Police step up their hunt for the thieves who stole autistic schoolgirl's therapy dog near Lutterworth after the dog was found dead

After our tragic story about her death yesterday, police put out another appeal about the burglary

Police are stepping up their hunt for the thieves who stole an autistic schoolgirl’s therapy dog near Lutterworth after she was found dead.

Officers investigating the theft of Lottie – who belonged to 12-year-old Chloe Hopkins - have put out an urgent new appeal for information.

They are acting following the final tragic twist in the story after the three-year-old Dalmatian was stolen over three months ago.

Lottie the dog

As we reported yesterday, Lottie was discovered dead in a layby in Peatling Road, Countesthorpe, on the southern edge of Leicester on Sunday morning (March 8).

The grim find is believed to have been made by a motorist just five miles from Lottie’s home in Peatling Parva, near Lutterworth.

PC Robin Bonell, the investigating officer, said: “Sadly, we have been told that Lottie has been found dead.

“We have spoken to her owner to offer support and they have asked to be left alone at this time.

Chloe with Lottie.

“We are continuing with our investigation into the burglary.

“I would still like to speak to anyone who may have information but has not yet contacted police.”

PC Bonell, of Leicestershire Police, added: “I’m particularly keen to speak to anyone who was driving along Peatling Road on Sunday morning.

“Did you notice anyone in a layby who was acting in a manner that seemed unusual or that caught your attention?

“Do you have a dashcam installed in your vehicle?

“Any details you’re able to provide, no matter how insignificant you think they may be, could help with our investigation.”

The officer urged anyone who has any information about who stole Lottie or how she died to call police immediately on 101 quoting incident 19*643906.

Inconsolable Chloe has been left devastated after her rare three-year-old liver spot Dalmatian, her best friend, died.

Her mum Gemma Hopkins, 35, said that identifying the pet she gave her daughter as a puppy was the hardest thing she’s ever had to do.

The distraught mum-of-six announced the tragic outcome on Facebook after animal-lovers all over the UK and even overseas backed her mission to get Lottie back alive and well.

Lottie was stolen from the family’s home in Peatling Parva between 3am and 7am on Sunday December 1.

Catherine Lightbown was so touched by Lottie’s death that she’s launched an online fund in a bid to buy Chloe a puppy.

And she’s now raised £1,005 of her £1,500 target as scores of generous dog lovers rushed to support her campaign.

Based in Boston, Lincs, Catherine has written on her gofundme page: “Nothing can ever replace the love and support that Lottie brought to Chloe but it could go some way to mend her broken heart.

“So please, even if it's a pound anything you can spare, could help put a smile back on a little girl’s face and if you can't donate then please share thank you.”

If you would like to support Catherine’s effort please visit her gofundme page here: https://www.gofundme.com/f/to-put-a-smile-back-on-a-little-girls-f